NEPAL ON A BACKPACK
Nepal, a country often overlooked in terms of travel destination as it is seen as a lost space between India and China, is in fact by far one of the most substantial countries I have ever set foot in. Home to an exquisite marvel of nature, the Himalayan Mountain Range, Nepal has had a luscious history that dates back to the Neolithic Age. On one hand, it is the birth place of Lord Buddha, where a strong belief in Buddhism stems from, and on the other, a home for Hindu monarchs that used texts revived from the Vedic age to reproduce lexicon. Even though Nepal was never colonized, it was always seen as an inheritor of a blend of the Indian and Chinese culture located on its South and North respectively, as it allowed various trade routes between the two.
What sets this country apart is its genuine, down-to-earth people that I got to experience first-hand, as I travelled to Nepal this May. Sponsorship wasn’t an idea with which I started blogging, and to me, this offer seemed like a dream. I left my May semester of University courses in the US to fly to Nepal on a backpack as soon as I got the invitation. Zero regrets, this trip did not only open my eyes in many ways, but also injected my soul with pure drops of purpose.
But I shall pause, before I proceed with everything Nepal has to offer to you; something was taken away from it, from our Nepal. In its grace and magnificence, people do not notice its limping and aching cry for help. In 2015, Nepal was shook by an earthquake of 8.1 vector magnitude. Almost 22K died and unfathomable amounts of infrastructure got lost in the smoke of destruction – an unforeseen dystopia.
I stood on that land last week, exactly two years later- May 2017; My heart crumbled. Thousands of Nepali men and women, working hours in a row to preserve and rebuild what was lost- prevalence of unity. Loss of loved ones echoed as I walked down the brick walls that were constantly being renovated. Strange as it was, wherever I went, people smiled with their glistening pure eyes, as if we were their saviors; we, tourists, who were privileged and futile in every way in that very moment.
The Travel and Tourism Board of Nepal had clearly made genuine efforts to make sure they left no stones unturned for us invitees– a group of travel writers and bloggers. We landed in the capital city of Kathmandu on the 23rd of May, and spent three days soaking in the rich culture, heritage, and energy there, before we left for a road trip to Pokhara– the gateway city to the Annapurna Mountain circuit, where we climbed the Ghandruk and Pothana Ranges for 2.5 days and spent a day white water rafting in Trishuli river on our way. Having overcome too many challenges as we adventured, our group built a sense of family and a kinship toward the Nepali culture. We celebrated our last day in Pokhara at the International Mountain Museum on the auspicious Mt. Everest day. Come May end, we flew back to Kathmandu and attended the Himalayan Travel Mart from the 1st-4th of June, a platform for all online buyers and sellers to network.
To me however, this trip was so much more than the jest I just gave you. It was a sense of belonging as I meditated amongst monks in a Buddhist Monastery, it was the shared pride in promotion of ecotourism, the number of times strangers smiled at me and said ‘Namaste’, the simple act of running my hand through the fresh water river stream that originated from the mountains I was climbing for the first time, the sense of the fact that everything material can be lost in just a moment from the reconstruction sights that I visited, the satisfaction from the spicy as hell food in the mountains – the food I thought I could never eat, and most of all the realization that there are bigger problems that need solving than my own – an unique sense of inner peace.
One blog post obviously doesn’t do my experience justice; so I have prepared three– ‘How To Be A Nepali in Nepal: A Tourism Guide’, ‘Top Five Places to Visit in Kathmandu’, and ‘My first section-trekking experience in on the Annapurna Mt. Circuit’. I was also very lucky to be able to interview Kaji Sherpa, who broke a record of the fastest climber to Mt.Everest back and forth in just 20 hours and 24 minutes in 1998.
Looking forward to sharing the Nepal blog posts with you this week and the next, and the interview with Mr.Kaji on the 15th of June! Stay tuned 🙂
*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras used to capture these pictures are Canon EOS 50D and iPone 7. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts!